Teacher power can change society. Let’s recognize, reward and appreciate great teachers – it’s our kids, as well as society, who benefit from their efforts.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires
– William Arthur Ward
Today is the first school day in Australia and my 12-year-old daughter Noff is starting high school. That’s it, my little girl is in high school and I am very emotional.
Every year, on the first day of school, we get up very early. Most years, the kids could not sleep from too much excitement. If school starts at 8:45, but they were ready to go at 7:00. It is funny how many years you can drop kids off at school (my eldest is 25 years old now) and still have the same feeling every first day of the year. It is one of those things that time and practice do not change. I drop them off at school and feel I give the most precious thing for me to a group of teachers who will spend more time with him or her than I will. It is not a feeling of neglect, more like a bond we have between us, parents and teachers, that will last for as long as my child goes to that school.
Every year, I think that my kids’ teachers are my team. They help me (and my husband Gal) take care, raise, inspire and teach the most important things in my life – my kids. Sometimes, I think it is almost like temporary, 1-year-long marriage. Whatever they do will either inspire or kill their curiosity and confidence. Teachers are that powerful!
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world
– Nelson Mandela
I am a teacher myself and fully aware of the power I have over my students and their families. Some of my past students are 35 years old now and still talk about their year in my class or in one of my programs as a turning point in their life. Teachers have lots of power to change societies. Some use it and some abuse it, which is why I believe that rewarding teachers who uses their power wisely is the most effective way to make sure our kids are in good hands when they go to school.
In a society with continually changing needs and practices, with packed classes, technological over-stimulation, high pressure, limited time and limited resources, it is not easy to be team players and even harder to inspire students to search and explore beyond the boundaries of their thinking. Every year, I drop my precious child off at school and every year, I need to thank my team a little more, because teaching gets that much harder.
For some time now, it has been very inspiring for me to follow Lowell Milken, the founder of the Milken Education Award, who is doing just that – rewards best teachers with the goal of promoting effective teaching for every classroom in America. Think about it! Every classroom! Since the opening of his National Institute for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, over 100,000 teachers and millions of students were impacted. Teaching is power!
While the real rewards for your team of teachers are appreciation and your child’s success, make sure you vote with your school involvement and your feedback. As an educator and a life coach, I say that if you want something to keep happening, you should give it your attention and focus. So if you find something you appreciate in your child’s teacher, reward it with your positive feedback and warm appreciation. You do not have to wait until the end of year to do it. Reward it as it happens and together, by giving power to the best teachers, we can change a whole generation of teachers to put their power to good use.
Happy, inspiring and wonderful 2014 school year!